I was listening to a motivational podcast this week. The subject of the episode was finding your purpose, your personal legend. They suggested reflecting back to the dream you have had since your youth. It was intended to be motivating. I was actually left in somewhat of a stupor. There were things like writing and art that I was interested in from a young age. I have wanted to be a mom for as long as I can remember-but a calling that has fueled my decisions, or that I have always known was mine, has not been my experience. I am really inspired by people who follow a dream, CREATE IT for themselves after hardships, set backs or just the hard knocks of life. I think that’s what I love so much about Lauretta CREATING A DREAM of owning a car wash- ST GEORGE CAR WASH
I met Lauretta 14 years ago. She was my neighbor. She and Scott were working hard raising a blended family, children from their prior marriages. Their children were motivated, sweet, responsible, kind- just the examples I loved having for my young girls to look up to. Some of our favorite neighborhood memories have been in their backyard eating gourmet s’mores visiting with everyone they could think to invite. They are amazing cooks and even better friends. Lauretta, unfortunately for me, is no longer down the street, but I made the excuse to visit her at the very thing that took her away. I love the opportunity to introduce her to you-
How did you become a business owner?
I worked for Xerox as a Group President, Government Healthcare Group. I was responsible for $610M in annual revenue with over 6,000 employees. I came to Xerox through an acquisition of ACS (Affiliated Business Services). After seven years, Xerox decided that the acquisition wasn’t successful and decided to spin off the former ACS as a separate business. Through this transition, my group was combined with another group and I found myself without a position. I could have taken a different position within the new company, but I decided it was time to leave and do something different. I took a lucrative severance package and moved on.
Why did you choose a car wash?
Leaving my corporate job was a huge shock to me. Much of my identity was tied to my position which I no longer had. In the initial months of being “retired”, I felt lost and unsure what to do next. I started to look for another corporate job but my heart wasn’t in it. It didn’t feel right. One day, I was in my home office upstairs and Scott was in his home office downstairs. He texted me with the idea that we should purchase a business and I could run it. My heart instantly felt at peace and I loved the idea. We started to look around for business opportunities. Although my background is in healthcare, my real passion lies in business, specifically how to improve processes, growth, retaining and developing talent, and delivering exceptional service to customers. We evaluated many businesses and loved the car wash because it is a simple business model, and it had been in business for 24 years with an excellent financial history.
What is the most challenging aspect of running your business?
Unrealistic customer expectations, bad weather, and employee turnover. The labor market in St. George has changed and I have had to raise my starting pay for new employees in order to attract people to come to work here.
What is the most rewarding part of owning your car wash?
I absolutely love being a small business owner who can make decisions, set strategy and a vision for the future without having to get corporate approval. I love the lack of bureaucracy and politics that are common in large corporations.
Imagine yourself at 80 years old-what will be grateful that you did in this stage of your life?
Until two years ago, I have always worked full-time and found it difficult to have balance in my life with work, family, church, and outside interests. I am so grateful for the opportunity to own a business with a full-time manager which allows me time to pursue other interests such as friendships, personal development, hobbies, and self-care. I have more time to spend with my family. I am grateful to lead a life with less stress and pressure.
Who inspires you to be a better person? Why?
My husband Scott. He knows me better than anyone and isn’t afraid to challenge my thinking and assumptions. He has strengths that I do not have and together we make a great team. He gives me advice and is great at listening to my ideas and talking through decisions. It is critical for me to have someone I can share everything with – the good, the bad, and the ugly. My personality is such that I like to talk through things, often more than once. I am fortunate that my best friend is also my husband and he is always there for me.
What is your favorite book? Why?
My favorite business book is First, Break all the Rules: What the World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently by Marcus Buckingham from The Gallup Group. They did in-depth research and presented findings of what makes great managers turn individual employee’s talent into high performance. These managers didn’t hesitate to break virtually every rule of conventional wisdom.
What is your favorite failure/mistake?
I have been fired from my job not once, but twice! But wait, it gets better. I was fired both times from the same company. Feeling like a failure is not fun but the experience helped me evaluate my life, my motivations, and what is really important. I heard someone say, “Your worst day will end up being your best day, because it is the day you are forced to change.” As I look back on these difficult experiences, I see how much I grew and learned. The second time this happened made me realize that corporate life wasn’t the right fit for me anymore. If I had still been working in my corporate job, we would not have searched for a business to purchase and we wouldn’t own the car wash. I am right where I want to be in my career.
“Your worst day will end up being your best day, because it is the day you are forced to change.”
I have such a sweet tooth. I have many favorites but if I need to narrow it down it would be my homemade triple chocolate toffee brownies or Scott’s Lemon Blueberry cake. I also love cookies. My current favorite cookies (besides homemade) are Crumbl. I love their flavors, their size, and the dense texture.
What is your favorite book to give away?
HOW WILL YOU MEASURE YOUR LIFE by Clayton Christensen
If you had an extra hour every day, what would you do with it?
For half of the week, I would want to spend the extra hour with my family. On the other days, I would spend the extra hour on personal development. I have been listening to Rachel Hollis’ podcasts and I ordered the start today journal. I am going to start doing her goal setting practices. I received an email from Rachel Hollis to her email list saying that for three years she has been writing down the goal to speak at a Tony Robbins event. She was recently invited to speak with Tony Robbins. I had told Scott a few months ago that I wanted to attend a Tony Robbins event. As soon as I got the email, I purchased tickets to the event in Calgary, Canada where both Tony Robbins and Rachel Hollis will be speaking for me and Scott to attend in July. I am a podcast and personal development junkie. My favorite podcasts are: How I Built This, Rise Together, Better than Happy, Planet Money, Ted Radio Hour and Work Life with Adam Grant.
Which trait are you most grateful for in yourself?
I am loyal. I try to see the best in others and give people the benefit of the doubt. I believe that most people do not try to hurt others. Most people are trying to do their best.
Most people are trying to do their best.
What tool could you not live without? Why?
This is pretty corny, but I could not live without my phone since it is the most powerful thing that I have. I am very curious by nature and I find myself looking things up in Google several times each day. When I see or hear something that I do not know, I can instantly look it up. I use the notes app for lists and to store information. I just opened the notes app and I have 155 notes. I do not make to-do lists or take notes on paper anymore. Instead I put it into my phone which I have wherever I go.
What is your greatest success?
My greatest success is my happy marriage to a wonderful husband and the success of our children. They are righteous, happy, healthy, independent adults who are contributing well to society. They are great examples of courage, determination, strength, tenacity, kindness, and love. As our kids were growing up, we felt it was important to create family traditions and memories. For 10 years, I drove a red Dodge Durango and didn’t buy a new car. There were many things in our homes that we wanted to remodel but we put if off for years. Scott and I knew that when the kids grew up they wouldn’t look back at their childhood and marvel at the amazing bathroom we had. Instead our children would remember and cherish the memories that we made through our traditions, family vacations, and family activities.
…our children would remember and cherish the memories that we made through our traditions, family vacations, and family activities.
I hope from this, that you have a sense of the kind of person she is. She is a woman poised in every situation I have seen her in. She is a loyal friend. She is a dedicated wife and mother. I have looked to her as an example in so many situations. If you are ever in St George, UT, stop by to get your car washed! Your car will look and smell amazing and I know that you will love Lauretta (and Scott!) as much as I do!